Bobby Petrino vs. Steve Spurrier: Who Will Breakout in 2010?

Chase SessomsContributor IMay 5, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach Bobby Petrino of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Cowboys Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Arkansas and South Carolina have both carried the "bastards of the SEC" title since the conference expanded in the early 90's. Ask an LSU fan and they'll tell you, "you're just a buy in." 

Neither one has seriously contended for a conference title since their inception into the supreme church of college football.

However this season both fan bases feel that their team is bound for greatness. But which one is primed to explode on the national scene?

South Carolina has enjoyed recruiting success, but late season collapses in the last two seasons.

Arkansas has eclipsed recruiting expectations and has shown definite improvement in Bobby Petrino's two full seasons as head coach.

The Hogs are receiving a lot of preseason attention this year and seem more likely to have a breakout season under Bobby Petrino than South Carolina will with Steve Spurrier.

For the first time since Petrino came to Arkansas the Razorbacks will be starting a majority of upperclassmen. His efforts on the recruiting trail have also built a level of depth that Arkansas hasn't had for sometime.

Whenever the conference schedule gets tough an established leader helps. Ryan Mallet has been injured this spring but has fully embraced a leadership role on the team.

Stephen Garcia has been playing at South Carolina since his freshman season, but his play has been inconsistent. This might explain the collapses that South Carolina have suffered late in seasons.  

South Carolina will have the benefit of playing in what should be an easier SEC East this year, but I think they'll have a hard time competing with Florida for the SEC East crown. For South Carolina winning the East is what would make it a breakout season. 

The key to Petrino having the kind of breakout season that Arkansas fans are hoping for is going to be how him and his team handle hype. 

Arkansas has been ranked as high as 14th in some people's preseason top 25 polls. Mallet made a name for himself as a possible Heisman contender when he announced that he would not enter this year's NFL draft. 

A road game at Georgia and a home game against Alabama will be the true barometer of if this will be a breakout season or not. If Arkansas can win those two games, a BCS game might be a distinct possibility.

South Carolina and Arkansas will play head to head this season in Columbia, South Carolina. This head to head matchup between Spurrier and Petrino will tell us for certain who is having the breakout season.